Waupaca Foundry, a Hitachi Metals company, is expanding operations into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and will open a new facility to process iron castings produced at its Waupaca plants. The foundry plans to locate a facility in Ironwood, Mich., with an investment of $4.3 million and create 61 new jobs. Waupaca Foundry employs 4,500 team members at seven locations throughout the United States.
The expansion addresses increasing customer demand and adds iron casting processing capabilities, including cleaning and finishing, in a location where there is sufficient labor supply.
“The economy is strong and Waupaca Foundry is growing due to increased customer demand for cast and machined iron castings. Opening a facility to handle cleaning and finishing of cast parts will allow us to meet customers’ expectations in quality and delivery of their parts,” Waupaca Foundry executive vice president John Wiesbrock said.
The company plans to acquire an existing 50,000-square-foot facility in Ironwood. As a result of the expansion, Waupaca Foundry has been awarded a $1.2 million Michigan Business Development Program performance-based grant.
Prior to choosing a new location, Waupaca Foundry leaders conducted exploratory job fairs and identified a strong pool of motived, talented workers in the Gogebic County region. In December, the Ojibway Correctional Facility closed, leaving many area workers jobless.
“Like many employers across the nation, Waupaca Foundry is finding ways to overcome low unemployment and a shortage of skilled workers,” CEO Mike Nikolai said. “There simply are not enough workers to fill the open positions we have so we explored expansion in regions that had a solid base of talented workers.”
“Waupaca Foundry’s decision to establish a facility in Ironwood following the closure of the Ojibway Correctional Facility is great news for Gogebic County and will mean good jobs for many of the talented workers in the region,” Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder said. “We applaud the company for choosing to locate here and are thrilled to welcome them to Michigan.”
“Waupaca’s expansion here rather than in another state means good jobs for Michigan residents and underscores the strength of our business environment and talented workforce,” said Jeff Mason, CEO of Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the state’s chief marketing and business attraction arm.
Waupaca Foundry has hired and on boarded more than 35 new team members from the Upper Peninsula who are currently working full-time in Waupaca, while the new facility is preparing for production.